Beginner’s Pluck

Sheila Turner Johnston

Daughter of a Methodist minister from Cork, Sheila kept moving as a child, from Cork to Birr, in County Offaly, then to Donegal, before arriving in Belfast, where her mother was from. Sheila was a librarian…

Read more

Stephen Sexton

Stephen wrote his first poem, aged 8. “It was a strange rhyming poem about a mayfly. I didn’t write any more, after that, until the difficult teen years, when I wrote a few poems.” He was…

Read more

Sophie White

An only child brought up in Sandymount, Sophie always read. But she chose art, because writing was a family business. “I loved NCAD and got a first-class degree, but I loved drugs as well, and they…

Read more

Vivienne Kearns

Vivienne wrote gothic short stories at college, and a science fiction screenplay. After her degree she trained as an English teacher but moved to LA for a year. Returning, she worked as a project manager in…

Read more

Catherine Kirwan

Brought up on a farm in Tipperary, Catherine was a bookish child. She studied law in Cork; took a traineeship in Dublin, before heading for Munich where she taught English. “I thought about being a writer…

Read more

Andrew Mulligan

For years, Andrew wanted to work in the theatre. But he never really made it. “I was banging my head on the door, doing a lot of poorly paid and unpaid work. So at thirty, I…

Read more

Oisin Fagan

Beginner’s Pluck. A writer since childhood, Oisín published his first short story at 18. “I dropped out of college for a year and wrote fulltime working nights. Then I went back to complete my course.” As…

Read more

Jing-Jing Lee

Brought up in a house without books, speaking Mandarin, Jing-Jing was never read to. She discovered books aged 7, at school. “I loved Roald Dahl. I remember listening to audio tapes, as I read.”  During her…

Read more

Claire Adam

Books were scarce in Trinidad, when Claire was growing up there, but she was lucky. “My mum, who is Irish, opened a book shop in our basement.” Claire always kept notebooks, but when it came to…

Read more

Richard Roper

Richard remembers arguing with his mother about the number of books he could take out of the library. “I was always reading,” he says. “And at university I was a tortured writer of terrible poetry. It…

Read more

Tim MacGabhann

Tim has been writing novels since he was 15. Leaving Dublin shortly after starting a PhD, he fled to Mexica, and taught English. “After nine months, I met a load of foreign correspondents, and thought they…

Read more

Anna Stuart

A lifelong reader, Anna wrote a book about boarding school aged 10. Leaving university, she moved to Lancashire working in production management in Courtaulds textiles. “I loved it, but I wanted to get into marketing, and…

Read more